Courts Update Madras High Court vouches for English as the language...

Madras High Court vouches for English as the language for communication between Union and states not adopting Hindi as an official language

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Madras Sept 10(ILNS): The Madras High Court recently passed a judgment whereby the Court held that the English language should be used for the purpose of communication between the Union and the States which have not adopted Hindi as their official language.

Background:

Su Venkatesan, Member of Parliament, Madurai, affiliated with The Communist Party of
India(Marxist), on September 9, 2020, had written a representation to the Central Government regarding requesting for examination centers at Chennai and Puducherry for recruitment of CRPF Paramedical Staff Exam, 2020, as there was no center notified.

On November 9, 2020, Venkatesan received a reply to the above-mentioned representation in Hindi from, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India, North Block. On November 19, 2020, wrote a letter to the Minister of State for Home Affairs, quoting the provisions of the Official Languages Act, and asked the said Minister to respond to the letters of Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu in English.

Aggrieved by the reply in Hindi and lack of response from Minister of State for Home affairs, Venkatesan moved the Madras High Court, seeking use of English in all communication between the Centre and, the State of Tamil Nadu, its people along with the Members of Parliament.

Arguments Advanced:

Advocate M. Purushothaman appearing on behalf of the petitioner, argued on the provisions of the Official Languages Act and the Rules and Article 343 of the Constitution of India and a judgment of Uttarakhand High Court in the case of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Vs. Uttarakhand State Information Commission and Ors, AIR (2010) UTR 55.

Advocate L. Victoria Gowri, Assistant Solicitor General of India, submitted that the Central
Government goes by the Official Languages Act and the Rules and there is no intention on the part of the Central Government to violate any provisions of the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the Rules, 1976 and all the communications from the Central Government to the State Governments are being made only in English.

Held:

The Madras High Court held that the English language should be used for the purpose of communication between the Union and the States which have not adopted Hindi as their official language and directed the Union Government to follow the provisions of the official languages Act 1963, especially,

Section 3(Continuation of English Language for official purposes of the Union and for use in Parliament) of the Act and the Official Languages (Use for Official Purpose of the Union) Rules, 1976.

The Madras High Court also directed the Central Government to seriously consider amending Article 350 (Language to be used in representations for redress of grievances) of the Constitution of India, so that, not only representation is given in the languages of the Union or the States, but also reply is given in the same language used by the citizens.

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